What Loft of Driver Should You Use
Don’t worry if you’re unsure which amount of loft for your driver you should use. Most beginner golfers have no idea, and even intermediate players rarely make the best choice either.
I’m here to make sense of all the numbers and help you make the best decision in choosing the best 12 degree driver for you.
Nearly all drivers will fall in the low range of degree loft. 7 to 20 degrees is the range most drivers will fall under as drivers require only a small amount of loft.
The aim of a golf drive is to keep the ball low and hit it as long as possible. The complete opposite to this approach is a wedge which is instead used to hit the ball really high in the air. Naturally, wedges and irons will have a much higher range of loft.
10.5 – 11 degrees is the most common club that golfers use for their driver. However not everyone is the same as others prefer clubs which fall above and below the average loft range.
The Importance of Loft Vs Swing Speed
The average club head speed for a male golfer is about 95 MPH (15 km). Most players who fall under this average should use a loft of 10.5 degrees. This is a good starting point and should allow you to enjoy a perfect combination between launch and distance for your swing speed.
However, the loft you need to choose for your driver will depend on how fast or slow your swing speed is.
The slower your club head speed is; the higher loft of club you should choose. This is because a golfer with a slower speed has much more to gain with a club that can launch the ball higher and more accurately.
On the other hand, if your club head speed is in the high range 110 to 115 MPH (177 to 185 km), you’ll benefit more from a lower loft like 7° to 10° degrees.
It’s important that you choose the best driver for your playing style. To make this easier for you to understand, please see the driver loft chart below:
Driver Loft Distance Chart
|Club Head Speed (mph)||7°|
If you’d like to see a more detailed chart on distance vs golf clubs, read my complete guide on golf club distances here.
What is a 12 Degree Loft Driver
When it comes to golf club heads, each head is numbered differently according to its degree of loft. Generally the more loft a club has, the higher the ball will travel in the air. A lower amount of loft will cause the ball to fly at a lower height, create more roll and generally travel further.
This is why drivers in particular tend to fall under the lowest range of loft. The ultimate aim of a golf drive is to hit the ball as far as possible, so a lower amount of loft is ideal.
However this rule is not set in stone. Your own swinging technique plays an equal factor in how the ball is going to behave once you take your swing.
Some golfers find moving up on loft can actually create a more accurate flight path as well as gaining more distance.
The standard amount of loft for a driver is 10.5 degrees. However many players have found out just like I did, that moving up to 12 degrees could mark a significant improvement in your driving results.
Benefits of Using a 12 degree driver
Using a 12 degree driver as opposed to a lower amount of left can help many struggling golfers. The main benefits of using a 12° driver is the higher launch trajectory you’ll experience off the tee. The higher launch will help the ball clear trees and move with the wind easier. You’ll also notice a lesser degree of roll during landing when using a 12 degree driver.
I remember when I first began playing golf how everyone around me was using the standard 9.5 to 10.5 degree drivers. It never occurred to me that I should move up to higher loft driver in the 11 to 12 range.
Once I began using a 12 degree driver I noticed the change immediately. My drives certainly travelled higher, but the extra height also allowed me to enjoy long distances too. It’s no surprise that I have never gone back to the 10 degree driver to this day!
The Best 12 Degree Drivers to Use
All this discussion about the best loft to use is useless if you select a dud for a club. If you hit the golf course regularly, you’ll soon work out which clubs are going to have a long life span.
I’ve also played enough golf and communicated with enough other players to get a good idea on which clubs you should stay away from.
Fortunately there are quite a few solid choices when it comes to 12 degree drivers:
Ping 12 Degree Drivers
Perhaps the most popular of the 12 degree drivers is the range from Ping. I like these clubs as they offer the full spectrum of loft and have both clubs for the gentleman and ladies.
I found the ping 12 range to offer a higher degree of ball launch. The stock standard shaft also has a lower kick point making it much easier to swing then other clubs.
Most of PING’s range is designed with titanium club faces which results in a thinner size and better weight distribution. I found their thinner frame produces better sound, lowers overall weight and creates a sweet spot for the centre of gravity position.
List of Ping Drivers with 12 Degrees of Loft:
Visit the official PING website to see their current range of drivers
- Ping G
- PING G10
- PING G15
- PING G20
- PING G25
- PING G30
- Ping G400 SFT
- Ping G SF Tec Driver 12°
Taylormade Aeroburner 12
It would be difficult to miss a golfer using the Taylormade Aeroburner 12 driver. With its white colored head, 46 inch shaft, and stiff flex; this is a driver worth looking at.
Taylormade first introduced the Aeroburner in all white which helped it stand out from the crowd. However they late released a semi white and black model to appease a greater range of golfers.
In fact Taylormade went all out here and also added a mini version of the Aeroburner.
If you’re at all familiar with the JetSpeed model, you’ll be glad to know that the Aeroburner is a marked improvement. The speed pocket is twice the length of the JetSpeed as is designed to be wider and deeper.
With a sophisticated design like this, it was refreshing to see how forgiving this driver really is.
Please remember the Aeroburner 12 is made with a graphite shaft.
Overall, this is a top choice for any golfers who want an easy to use driver that looks great and performs well off the tee.
Titleist 917D2 12 Degree Driver
Titleist offers an excellent driver called the 917F2. This driver actually allows you to adjust the amount of loft! This is a great idea for golfers who either don’t know which loft is right for them or who would just like to adjust club specs in the future.
The 917D2 and 9172F2 are both designed are extremely forgiving and can really reach some long distances.
Although this is a new release and is not cheap, I did have a chance to try the club when I was out golfing in Florida.
I was amazed how the club has 16 different loft and lie settings designed within the club.
The CC is large enough that even beginners can strike the ball with ease. The 460cc head is nice size to use and makes testing loft settings that much easier.
If ordering from the Titleist website, they offer several shafts and grips to choose from. All items have varying amounts of colors, torque, weight and flex.
This may be a tad excessive for your very first club, but if you can afford it, you may not need another drive again.
Available Lofts: 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5°, 12°
Difference Between a 9.5 and 12 degree Driver
The difference between a 9.5 and 12 degree driver is in the amount of loft each driver has. A 12 ° driver is a better choice for a beginner golfer as the higher degree of loft will help them hit the ball at a higher angle. 9.5° drivers are better suited for golfers with more experience and a faster swing speed.
The faster club head speed combined with less degrees of loft will allow fast swingers to reach even further distances using a 9.5° driver.
To make this choice simpler, you can always opt for a driver with an adjustable loft setting.
9.5 Vs 10.5°– Is a Higher Loft Better?
Unlike the 12 degree clubs, what you’re more likely to come across are the 9.5 and 10.5 loft drivers. Many golfers wonder which type is better and if there really is a difference between the two. Well I’ve tested both types and can say that the differences are marginal.
We are only talking about a 1 degree difference here. To notice a difference between the various lofts out there, you really need to compare 2 clubs that have at least a 1.5° difference between the two.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that the 10.5° will work better for most people. Assuming both clubs have the exact same length shaft and all other factors are equal, you may find driver with more loft will hit the ball straighter.
Please remember none of this is set in stone. The end result will be dependent on your angle of attack, and your swing speed.
Golf is a sport that requires you test, adjust and readjust; but that’s half the fun of playing the game!
16 degree drivers
Things can get confusing when you see other drivers with a much higher loft like 16 degrees. I believe a loft of 16 degrees is much too high for any serious golfer to enjoy.
However golf club manufactures are producing clubs in the 16 to 18 degree category for a good reason.
A golfer who doesn’t know any better may find himself slicing a drive way too often. Out of frustration he will hear that he needs a drive with more loft.
Incorrectly, he will go shopping for a new driver and choose the club he sees with the highest degrees of loft.
I think this is why 16 degree drivers exist in the first place, because they are an easy sell.
I would always advise you to correct any issues in your swing before going out and buying a driver in the extra high loft range.
11 and 13 Degree Drivers
When it comes to the middle of the pack, 11, 12 and as much as 13 degrees of loft is what you’ll find for sale.
All clubs in this range are above the normal range of loft, but can definitely help your driving performance if you need it.
If you find your ball moving wayward, or you’re just not reaching optimal distance on your drives, these clubs are worth a try.
The loft you choose will depend on the club you’re currently using. To feel a large enough difference I recommend you choose a club that is 1.5 to 2.5° higher than the driver you’re using at the moment.
7 Degree Drivers
Before the year 2000, it was more common to see drivers designed with really low degrees of loft. Manufactures like Titleist would bring out drivers with 7 and 7.5 degrees of loft to accommodate the types of golf balls that were being produced for that time period.
Although not impossible, 7 degree drivers nowadays are much harder to find on the retail level. This is due to new golf balls being designed multi-layered. Balls that are multi layer spin less than the balls from the past; therefore they don’t perform well with such a low degree of loft.
The 12 degree driver is certainly not the most common loft to use for a driver. Golfers that have a slow club head speed under (100 MPH), may benefit using a driver in the 12 to 13° loft range. Beginners are advised to hit it high and into the winds directions to allow the ball to be hit accurately and further.
If you’re a fast swinger, hitting the ball low and fast with a lower loft driver will allow your ball to reach more yards than you could ever imagine.
If your budget allows for it, I do recommend you buy a driver with adjustable loft settings. This allows you to adjust the loft from low to high degrees at anytime you require.
I also recommend an adjustable driver as drivers tend to have a short lifespan of 5 to 7 years. I don’t see much point spending money on multiple drivers to enjoy different degrees of loft. You’ll save more money in the long run buying one driver that can do it all.
My #1 Tip to Help You Hit Your 12 Degree Driver Further
How great would it be to drive your ball further than you ever have before?
I found an excellent method that helped me hit my driver more than 21 yards further in less than 3 weeks of playing!
I recommend taking a look at this helpful course if you want to increase your driver distance just like I did.